Raglans – Self Titled

raglan pic

A dance for feet, imagination, and emotions, the self-titled debut album from Irish band Raglans is a magnetic introduction to a band which has already brewed up approaching feverish attention around home city Dublin and the wider landscape of Ireland. That spotlight is sure to be expanded as the infectious adventure of their album takes the hands of UK passions and leads them in its thrilling melodic waltz. The eleven song blaze of captivating sounds and insatiable energy provides all the reasons as to why the indie-folk quartet has swiftly made a major mark back home and will soon have wider fields spellbound you suspect.

Forming in 2010, Raglans took little time to create a potent following and reputation for their live performances and sound, an encounter which charges up the passions as much through its flavoursome breeding from the varied heavier, punky, and folkish tastes of the band’s members as it does from the virulently addictive hooks veining the release. Multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Stephen Kelly linked up with bassist Rhos Horan first before enlisting drummer Conn O’ Ruanaidh and lead guitarist Sean O’Brien soon after as the band took its first steps as Raglan, its name taken from a famous Patrick Kavanagh poem, On Raglan. The first year saw their demo track Down make its entrance before the band was invited to spend a week producing and recording with Boz Boorer, renowned for his collaborations with Morrissey. That spawned the eagerly received Long Live EP of 2012 as well as a couple of videos with young filmmaker Finn Keenan to accompany songs on the release. A pair of singles, Digging Holes and Natives drew even greater acclaim and hunger for their sound helping the foursome to land support slots with the likes of The Courteeners and HAIM.

Produced by Ivor Novello nominee Jay Reynolds (Elton John, Pulp, The Verve) and mastered by Grammy award winning Brian Lucy (The raglans coverArctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Beck), Raglans’ album is the next step on the rapid ascent of the band. As soon as the rhythmic and vocal revelry of opener Digging Holes seizes ears, thoughts and emotions similarly come under the spell of song and band. Almost tribal and certainly anthemic, the track is under the skin within seconds, continuing to forge a deeper toxicity with the rhythmic enterprise of Ruanaidh rampant within the emerging melodic guitar and keys colouring of the festivity. Vocally the band is just as potent, the great tones of Kelly perfectly backed and aided by the rest of the band. As the song evolves through changing gaits and twists around its core infectiousness, it provides one of the best rock pop encounters to bounce into and flirt with the passions over recent years.

The irresistible start is soon backed up potently by both (Lady) Roll Back The Years and the following Fake Blood. The first is again a melody soaked flame of insistently persuasive hooks and teasing rhythms aligned to sonic adventure and punchy imagination. With whispers of blues and folk rock to its feisty energy and weight, the track is an insatiably compelling stomp with a keen swagger to match. Its successor brings a more relaxed attitude to its suasion though there is still a purpose and passion to it which is of a heavier rock base, and though it is less dramatic and insistent than its predecessors, the song still adds another layer to the immense satisfaction welcoming the album. Another pleasing aspect to the songs, certainly to this point, is how the band ends them, each stepping from the ear as vivaciously and dramatically as at any other point in a track to add an additional lingering thrill in the mix.

Before Tonight saunters in next with a melodic smile in its heart, its folk pop stroll a warm summer chorus of harmonies and elegant hooks, whilst Natives uncages another anthem of virulent pop with a reserved but fully loaded temptation of guitar hooks, rhythmic enslavement, and vocal enticements. As with many songs there is something familiar playing with ears and thoughts but only to the benefit and potency of the rich thrilling bait.

The album continues to incite greater pleasure and allegiance to its inventive charm and melodic grace, the likes of the rigorously catchy blues kissed rocker White Lightning and the emotively sculpted Not Now raising more appealing weaves of thoughtful craft and delicious melodies whilst the more than decent High Road, if without sparking similar depth of ardour, pushes a wider gape to the grin inside the release and listener.

Keeping another pinnacle for its latter stages, the album then launches the brilliant romp of The Man From Glasgow on ears and passions, the track a vivacious rival to the first for best song. It is an energy pumping feast of guitar and bass endeavour alongside perfectly incendiary rhythms and similarly enslaving harmonies all drawn into a tempestuous pop song with more than an essence of pop punk breeding to its rampancy.

The album is closed out by firstly Down, the song another merciless proposition of harmonic enterprise and crafty indie coaxing stealing more of the passions, and lastly the refreshing Born In Storms, a track which does not spark the strongest rapture but certainly confirms album and band as something to loudly recommend. It is easy to see why the release of Down way back in its demo state awoke attention in so many whilst the last track simply reinforces the clever seduction of the band’s songwriting and sound. Raglans will be a small name making big impressions on the lips and thoughts of the UK as their album works its inevitable way into the hearts of a great many, becoming a presence as full and voracious as their sound.

https://www.facebook.com/Raglans

9/10

RingMaster 24/03/2014

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Radio Drive featuring Kevin Gullickson – A Taste Of Heaven

 

Taste-of-Heaven

    Kevin Gullickson first came to our attention with his album This is Our Time in 2012, it coming out under the name of Radio Drive which the musician retained after his previous band disbanded. The release was a captivating embrace of melodic rock and indie pop brought with an eclectic and inventive imagination. The fourth album from the Minneapolis singer songwriter, it easily bred a healthy appetite for his style of musical intrigue and emotive prowess and now the artist returns to feed it further with new single A Taste Of Heaven. It is a song which simply confirms all the impressed thoughts and assumptions of greater things to come sparked by his previous release.

    With the previously mentioned band coming to an end in 2009, Gullickson continued to write stirring pop encounters, unveiling them across a trio of albums, Dream The Impossible (2009), Life Today (2010), and I Can See The World From Here (2011) before he entered our radar with This is Our Time. Impressed media attention and radio plays have also come with the release of his records, tracks being featured on online, college and indie shows and stations across the US, Canada, and Europe.

   Whilst A Taste of Heaven seduces ears it is easy to expect similar reactions to follow its emergence. The creation of the song is almost as magnetic as its lyrical inspiration, the narrative bred from when the artist met his love in New York City on a cold November day. Gullickson says about the song, “I wanted to capture the essence of this time in my life and hope others can relate to a similar time in their life and catch that taste of heaven.” Recording a demo version, he sent the track over to producer Chris Garcia (Celine Dion, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears) to arrange and record the song, as well as adding additional synth parts and playing the bass guitar on the song. Guitarist Nick Lashley who has played with artists such as Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, and David Archuleta, was also brought in as well as L.A. session drummer Ben Rose. Once Gullickson had added his vocals and the final mix was completed by Tom Polce (Bob Dylan) with mastering completed by Grammy award winner Gene Paul, the single was ready to persuade the world and it seems has been instantly taken to.

    As A Taste of Heaven embraces it is not a surprise that it has raised a strong appetite already, the song swiftly emerging persuasively from an emotive ambience with tender and inviting guitar designs and the impressive melodic tones of Gullickson. In no time a personal depth is felt, not only lyrically and vocally but musically too, whilst the smiling melodies and rhythmic beckoning embrace ears and imagination with a warm magnetic hug. The keys and bass add further drama and texture to the scenery of the song, skirting the words that dance across the guitar coloured canvas of the song, their reflective warmth an infectious evocation.

    The single is pop rock at its finest, an encounter which lingers and seduces with poise and elegant craft reinforcing the emerging and increasingly potent presence of Radio Drive and Kevin Gullickson. A song to voice your summer and love affairs, A Taste of Heaven is the perfect entrance into an easily accessible and skilled songwriter.

http://www.radio-drive.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 20/03/2014

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Bill Parton Trio – Self Titled EP

BPT

     It is always a treat and thrill when a release comes from out of nowhere to play with and inspire the imagination and passions. Every year has a few of those moments when a band which has never even been a scent in the nostrils of attentions suddenly steps forward to light up the ears and the Bill Parton Trio is certainly an early one for 2014. With their debut self-titled EP, the trio from Adelaide, South Australia dance with and entice the senses with piano led pop and a passionate endeavour which is virulently catchy and unashamedly tempting. The accompanying press sheet for the release suggests the band is like a merger of The Beatles, Coldplay, Jeff Buckley, and Radio Head to which we would suggest a slice of Michael Bublé, none particularly inspiring if we are honest for our personal tastes meaning the encounter struggled to spark any eagerness towards it before a note was heard. It is a false description, though you can understand why comparisons are made, one not to be taken too accurately as the Bill Parton Trio have something quite distinct and memorable to them, a sound irrepressibly engaging.

     Consisting of William Parton (vocals, piano), Jeremy Martin (bass) and Andrew Partington (drums), the band has garnered a fine and increasingly potent name for themselves in their homeland through their insatiable appetite to gig and the successful release of the singles Going Away and Falling For You Again. Numerous festival appearances have also increased the stature of the band with the release of their EP in Australia last August accelerating their presence and success. Recorded with producer Darren Mullan (The Angels, The Beards, John Swan, Russell Morris), the release now gets its UK unveiling and it is hard not to assume it will find the same attention and success again.

     It does not take long for the EP’s opening track to bring appetite and attention to the boil. The initial piano beckoning of Falling for You Again builds to a mini crescendo before relaxing as it embraces the vocals of Parton for the parading of the song’s narrative. Even in its gentle stroll there is an open infectiousness which intensifies as the track swings its hips into a lively chorus clad in a harmonious embrace. A song you can join in easily with by the second return of its irresistible catchy main call, the encounter makes for an absorbing and masterful invitation to band and release.

   The following So Unfair brings a slower sultry glaze to its persuasion which smoulders and entices another flame of pleasure. As with a few of the songs there is something indefinably recognisable to the track, an admittedly appealing but definitely familiar bait which could be a take it or leave it issue for some. As Parton and song croons with expertise and emotive elegance it is something which certainly brought another tasty morsel to the table of the EP for us, a pleasing flavour soon matched and exceeded by Going Away. There is no disguising the Lennon and McCartney aspect to the song here but again it works rather than derails the suasion of the song, its contagion the primary lure to be enslaved and excited by though matched again by the keys and vocal prowess of Parton aligned to the rhythmic call of the rest of the band.

     If You’re Here With Me slows things down just a little next, though still there is a swerve to the body of the evocative tale. The bass of Martin adds its own captivating bait whilst the beats of Partington cast a crisp frame to the melodic resources of Parton, the trio once again leading thoughts into a sultry emotional encounter. That sense of familiarity once more only adds to the lure of the track, helping the EP play more like an old friend rather than an undiscovered new acquaintance, but a returning companion you always hold a full welcome for.

   The closing Stalker Man is more of the same, a familiar but refreshing breeze of melodic piano pop with vivacious harmonies and lyrical poignancy. It brings the release to a fine and enjoyable conclusion if without quite lighting the same depth of reactions as the previous songs. The EP is a thoroughly pleasing and attentive proposition with really only a lack of something mouth-wateringly original to its wares is a slight disappointment. Nevertheless with the quality and sheer infectiousness of its songs there is little to hold back making a full recommendation to check out the release and the Bill Parton Trio.

http://www.billpartontrio.com

8.5/10

RingMaster 17/03/2014

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The Correspondents – Puppet Loosely Strung

 

The Correspondents pic

     …And the treats of 2014 just keep coming; in a year already endowed with some of the finest releases and debuts, Puppet Loosely Strung just might be the best of all so far. A masterful aural tapestry of sonic magnificence and unbridled imagination, the first album from UK band The Correspondents is simply stunning and quite irresistible. The creation of London based duo, producer Chucks and singer Mr Bruce, the album is a weave of intrigue, adventure, and diversity showing exactly why for the last few years the band has been drawing fevered attention and adoration for their live performances. Reaping the glories of everything from dance music to jazz, blues to electro and drum ‘n’ bass for a pop soaked exploration unique to themselves, The Correspondents is one of those bewitchments everyone needs in their lives.

    Mr Bruce and Chucks came together as The Correspondents in 2007, two South London artists taking as little as two years to find themselves playing main stages across numerous festivals. The years since their emergence has seen the band touring with the appetite of a hungry predator, small and large audiences constantly enthralled and enamoured by their invention driven sound and the band acclaimed as The Telegraph’s Top Ten Glastonbury Highlights two years in a row. With one EP, What’s Happened to Soho?, the only recorded offering until now, the band has impressively sparked a greedy appetite towards them, one which will soar as Puppet Loosely Strung seduces and provokes with its stunning radiance. Bringing in well-loved and established songs from their live set and a new breed of introspective emotive tracks, the release is the ultimate crossover album, one forging and sculpting a realm all of its very own and one sure to inspire hearts and numerous other upcoming bands.

     The self-produced, recorded, and released Puppet Loosely Strung, digs deep in the heart of its recipients from the first song The Correspondents - Puppet Loosely Strungand never relinquishes its seduction thereafter. Opener What Did I Do? initially croons the ears, the exceptional voice of Mr Bruce serenading thoughts as keys caress his presence before beats add their mildly skittish suasion to the emerging stroll. Within seconds the track is a full captivation turning into a virulent lure as its unpredictable and mischievous enterprise skirts the reflective grace of the vocals. It is a delicious sway of ingenious sound and loving imagination which whirls senses and thoughts around like an evocative carousel of thoughtful temptation.

     The striking start is soon taken to another plateau with the first single from the album, Fear And Delight. A dramatic shadowed coaxing of keys makes a mysterious entrance which moves into a feisty romp of indie rock and electronic temptation. If the first track was virulent, the second song is an epidemic, infectiousness rampaging with lustful energy and sound as the pair merge dub into drum and bass with a ska kissed melodic ingenuity. Not for the last time The Correspondents remind of little known and even quicker forgotten eighties band Zanti Misfits, the swing and quirky balance of the track the spark for thoughts. The song is pure musical alchemy, a classic stomp with irresistibly lingering bait which the rest of the album has to try and make you forget, which it soon manages with the next up Give You Better. The song lyrically is almost the warped mirror image/alternative guise to the plaintive narrative of its predecessor, even emerging from the same melodic stroke before casting is own personal persuasion. Once again the keys paint a dark drama to proceedings before the vibrant and magnetic saunter of the song brings a tempering light to the blues pleading hues of the song. As the previous tracks the urge to join in with limbs and voice to the creative trespass of the passions is impossible to resist, the already broad grin on the face and imagination now connecting ears.

    The seductive shuffle of Kind Of Love next licks temptingly over the senses, its jazz bred almost easy listening leaning call leading the senses into an electronic elegance before the instrumental skit of In The Meantime brings a cinematically emotive breather to the dance of the release. It’s enjoyable if slightly underwhelming presence in the larger scheme of things is succeeded by Devil’s Lighthouse, a song which encloses the listener in a melody rich sonic exploration which simply brings another flush of ardour towards the album. Restrained yet brisk in its step, the track pushes shadows into the arms of warm ambition and hope for another pinnacle in the continuously lofty range of majesty.

   Both Well Measured Vice and The Last Time leave a spellbound state over ears and thoughts, the first another upbeat romp with provocative colour to its melodies and vocals playing within a rhythmic and pulsating courting. The song designs riveting adventures within its fluid waltz to easily transfix whilst its successor s offers the most potent seduction with its XTC like eccentricity and occasional Andy Partridge flavoured twist in the vocals. The song is one of the few happy to simply walk around the senses and coat them with a thick breeze of varied inventive whispers before making way for the dance floor spawned Back Again. Even if missing the benchmark set, the track is another drawing a mesmeric rapture which simply draws you in without reserve, its rhythmic tantalising as potent as its melodic fascination.

    The album’s title track lays a haunted ambience around the imagination as the song and Mr Bruce explain their feelings and thoughts respectively, the song a smouldering and sultry flight into observational and inward reflection to which the keys place compelling embers and imagination shaping sparks. The enchanting journey is matched and surpassed by the latest single, the brilliant Alarm Call. Released with a video to raise awareness and funds for The Epilepsy Society, there is a definite Julian Cope feel to the song vocally, emotionally, and exploratory; it’s pulsating contagion aligned to evocative textures and thoughts pure addictiveness.

     Closing with Some Nights, another impossible catchy and passion securing musical rap of peerless prowess and excited imagination, Puppet Loosely Strung is just sensational. It is a quite brilliant investigation of lost loves, dark relationships, and shadowed reflections all wrapped up in one of the most extraordinary sirenesque designs of sound and spirit. The Correspondents is our new lust and we suggest you make them yours too.

https://www.facebook.com/TheCorrespondents

10/10

RingMaster 10/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Passenger Peru- Self Titled

     Passenger Peru

    Startlingly immersive with the craft and ability to turn the listener into a castaway lost in an expansive seduction of suggestive pop majesty within a dreamy soundscape in its rawest breath, the debut album from Passenger Peru is an experience you cannot help licking your lips over before each and every encounter. It is a mouthwatering collection of warm and elegant persuasions bred in an exploration which is bold and bravely adventurous. The self-titled album is as mentioned pop in its rawest most potent form but with an inspiring scourge of creative devilry and melodic mesmerism twisted into a hypnotic and at times wonderfully demonic dance.

    Passenger Peru comes from the creative minds and passions of Justin Stivers (vocals, guitar, bass, synth, drums, drum machines) and Justin Gonzales (vocals, guitar, synth, piano, samples), the former one time bassist with The Antlers for their Hospice album. The seeds for the Brooklyn based project are said to have started four years ago when the two musicians met and evolved into the Stivers led band Pet Ghost Project. A year in preparation, Passenger Peru is mouthwatering sonic scenery composed into something unique from essences of garage rock and shoegaze, psychedelic, alternative rock and more. With plenty of peaks and very minimal lows, if any at all, the lo-fi, hi-quality flight is raucous spellbinding pop brought in its most primal and beauteous magnificence.

     The album immediately takes the listener to a scintillating pinnacle with its opening pair of songs, a height the album never passperucoverquite emulates again though it thrills consistently trying. First song Your Hunger emerges from a cinematic melodic swoon and following studio doodling launches one of the most exciting and impressively tempting starts to a song heard in a long time. Guitar and bass instantly secure the fullest attention as they virtually gnaw on the ears with the latter offering an almost carnivorous tone to its dark enticement. With mutually attractive rhythmic teasing alongside, the rapacious sound conjured by the pair continue to coax and lure in the strongest lustful reaction and hunger, a post punk essence bringing thoughts of Joy Division and Gang Of Four to mind prowling the imagination whilst framing the excellent mellow and soothing vocals. It is delicious mix with sinister spirals of cold sound amid glorious flames of melodic tenderness colliding and uniting for a quite stunning provocation. Complete with an irresistible repetitious gait to bass and rhythms alongside a quite saucy groove which also hardly veers from its prime intent, the song sets the highest plateau for the album to keep up.

    In the Absence of Snow steps up next to stroll that pedestal with ease, its opening acoustically sculpted guitar tantalising and the again snarling throaty bass tempting exceptionally addictive and successful in igniting even greater rapture in the imagination and emotions. Best described as the Jesus and Mary Chain meets House Of Love whilst the revelry of Ok Go! is at play, the bait laid down for the ears and emotions to partake in, is again virulently impossible to refuse or not find a greedy need for. Rock pop at its finest with a fiery solo and another spine of repetition kissed captivation, the track continues the album’s unassailable submission of the passions. With an impressive lyrical craft and insight also at work, which admittedly comes second best to the sound in attention taking over the first couple of plays, Passenger Peru at this point has already ignited an ardour which only a total car crash of a remaining body of songs could deflate.

    Pollen Season takes no time in showing no such disaster is on the cards though as mentioned before, the album never treads the same lofty levels again. To put that into context though the following tracks prey on and build their own benchmark which most bands would swap their grannies for, the third song on the release a beguiling proposition of organic beauty around once more a bass treat you can only enthuse over with a tendency to drool, and a percussive enterprise which does not steal focus but would leave a major whole with its absence. Seriously magnetic, the song departs the now raging appetite for the album for the epidemically engaging pop absorptions of Tiger Lilly and Heavy Drugs to take over. The first of the two has a swagger and melodic grin which teases and charms but an equally solicitous sonic and rhythmic bruising to its latter swing whilst the second is a sultry summer breeze of radiant melodies within an increasingly dark and unsettling premise.

     The second half of the album starts with Weak Numbers, again a track which ensnares thoughts and appreciation but marks a slightly less potent stretch for the album. The front five tracks leave the latter quintet in their shadow though once more in a context where Passenger Peru is on another realm with their artistry at the start of the album and a still immensely impressive level thereafter. A gentle and smouldering embrace, the song is a melancholic incitement with celestial elegance aligned to a tempestuous but contained emotive brawl. It is a transfixing companion immediately supported by the exotically imagined Memory Garden and the enthralling, intensive fascination of Health System, a song which merges heavy and light melodic and intimidating textures into a weave of emotion entangling beauty with XTC like alchemy.

     The new single from the album Dirt Nap comes next, emerging with a slight Celtic lilt to its sonic beckoning before a predominately acoustic caressing ensues with a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its snare. Initially thoughts were not over excited by the song but over time it works its way under the skin to seduce though personally not the right choice as the single to lure people into the outstanding album, a record holding back another major treat for its closing offering. Life and Death of a Band is a rowdy and antagonistic romp but equally a ridiculously endearing and alluring temptress from a maelstrom of invention and creative intrigue and a quite brilliant finale to a breath-taking slab of pop excellence.

    Passenger Peru will be massive at some point with all the evidence resting and burning away in their debut, a journey as unique and awe inspiring as their name hints at.

http://www.passengerperuband.com/

http://passengerperu.bandcamp.com/

9/10

RingMaster 05/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sweet Gum Tree – The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame

Arno Sojo

Arno Sojo

    As poetic musically as it is lyrically, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is an enchanting and sublimely enveloping taking of the imagination and emotions. Lush and magnetic the debut album from Sweet Gum Tree is a warm absorbing flight of vibrant and evocative ballads casting crystalline reflections. It is also a presence which evolves and seduces to greater extents with every listen, the songs expanding their embrace and thought summoning potency across numerous encounters to leave the listener lost and immersed in a spellbinding creative soak.

     Sweet Gum Tree is the solo project of French songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arno Sojo, an artist who for ten years played in various rock and electro bands, most notably his own creation Sojo Glider. Deciding to explore his emerging ideas and sound with an influence of ‘the timeless beauty of refined vintage records’, his uniquely named poetic chamber pop emerged to start tantalising ears as Sojo brought Sweet Gum Tree to life. The band was soon sharing stages with artists such as Heather Nova and Gaëtan Roussel, whilst various singles and EPs have equally drawn strong acclaim and attention to match his live performances. The new album is the next step to awakening a wider audience, something you suspect The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame will do with relative ease. Recorded with David Odlum (Gemma Hayes) and Peter Deimel (Deus, Anna Calvi) as well as featuring a wash of guest musicians including Isobel Campbell, Tindersticks drummer Earl Harvin, and Marty Willson-Piper from The Church, the last pair also joining the band for its upcoming tour debut UK tour, the album is a masterful persuasion of everything from ears and senses to thoughts and emotions. Partly composed with classical arranger Eric Voegelin who also arranged all the orchestration on the release, the album is a tender and melancholic temptation but one with warmth and hope which always leaves the final kiss.

    Lyrically the album is a kaleidoscope of observations and reflective explorations, whether personal or as an outside perception, 1476685_444574455653024_2109686357_nand dreamy if shadowed relationships. As shown by opener Redhead, a track which from a seemingly singular subject embraces all never to be seemingly submissive prejudices, the music written and presented on the album coats and reflects the words with a rich and deep understanding to the lyrical missive. The first song makes a slow and reserved entrance before a piano coaxing welcomes in the fine expressive tones of Sojo, both soon wrapped in the arms of delicious emotive strings, an evocation which constantly seduces and succeeds across the whole of the album. There is a quiet but firm drama to the song too, a seemingly personal angst expelled through heated enterprise which only increases the immediate and lingering lure of the track.

    The wonderful New Rays follows and instantly raises the game, its opening thumping but respectful beats awakening an eager appetite which is soon fed by tempting guitar strokes and melodic enticement. It is a stomp of a song but one never brazen enough to lose its control and dispel mesmeric beauty, every aspect of the track energised yet confident in its restrained seduction. The best track on the album, well for today anyway as that choice has been known to change over various listens, it makes way for the excellent incitement of The Crimson Flush. A rosy blush lyrically and musically, the song is a resourceful smouldering of a glorious stringed narrative around the slightly Bowie-esque vocals. The track does walk the rim of show tunes in some ways but never to its detriment or loss of its irresistible coy suasion.

   Both Bird of Passage which features the earlier mentioned Campbell as one part of a riveting duet, and the bewitching Last Chance Train continue the impressive glide of the album. The second of the two holds a familiarity to it but one which evades recognition within a weave of acoustic craft and textures within a melodic fascination. With rising crescendos of energy and emotion thrilling throughout its body, the track is simply a mouthwatering merger of rock and pop.

     The following Astray with its sultry breath and elegantly inflamed walls and its successor the skittishly rhythmic Chew Up Spit Out provide two admittedly longer to convince but eventually succeeding propositions, their melodic charm and inventive radiance impossible to avoid and dismiss as their lyrical paintings provoke the imagination. Though neither match earlier heights, both leave an irresistible taste in the passions powerfully matched by the almost foxy delicacy and emerging feistiness of Grateful as Fire and the stringed grandeur aligned to an alluring intimacy presented by The Vulnerable Almighty.

     The final pair of songs November Daughter and Breathtaker brings subdued yet melodically ornate and attractively stylish breezes to bear on the senses respectively; the two again songs which maybe want longer to seduce but do not err in their success as they light up the imagination and emotions. Certainly some tracks are stronger and richer in their infectious tempting than others and as to which do will definitely vary from person to person, but every song on The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame is an emotional colour driven sail through melodic and vivid life bred hues, and the strongest evidence that Sweet Gum Tree is set to inflame a swarm of hearts.

http://www.sweetgumtree.tv/

8.5/10

RingMaster 03/02/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Reverse – Kind Words For Cruel Times

The reverse pic

     Released in the closing weeks of 2013, Kind Words For Cruel Times is an album you may have missed but is deserving of some of your attention. Brought to life by UK indie band The Reverse, the release is a gentle and persuasive collection of songs bred with a merger of folk and alternative rock intent. A little undulating in its convincing at times and more a work in progress sound wise than the finished article, the album nevertheless provides an attractive way to spend your time.

     The Reverse began with vocalist/guitarist Nathan Loughran and drummer Jason Moran, its idea and seeds growing out of pub conversations between the two, through late night recording sessions, and rehearsals. Initially the band’s sound engineer, guitarist/backing vocalist Sam Hartley was added to the line-up before a bassist called Joe completed the line-up, before his departure led the trio to linking up with bass/backing vocalist James McKeown (ex-lead singer of The Great Divide and The Colours). A trio of EPs also emerged to good reactions starting with the debut release A Clean Incision in 2006. The following year saw the release of the Shutterspeed and in 2008 the My Lifelong Psychological Experiment EP, all three as the album recorded with and mixed by Graham Dominy (The Rifles, Razorlight, Ray Davies, Supergrass). Onstage the band has built a reputation to match their records, performances alongside bands such as Klaxons, The Wave Pictures, Lupen Crook, Sgt Buzfuz, and Carina Round enhancing their stature. Kind Words For Cruel Times makes the next step forward for the North London quartet with its unveiling on Under The Influence Records, the label an offshoot of one of London’s premier music nights Under the Influence, a monthly showcase for new songwriters/bands at the Boogaloo in London. Whether it will make an indelible mark on the awareness of UK’s indie scene is hard to tell but certainly given the chance it is an album to wake up some eager attention for the band.

     The release opens with Encore a well-crafted slice of folk pop which makes a positive if underwhelming start to the album. 131125kindwords2With keen melodies and crisp rhythms around the mellow tones of Loughran, the song certainly provides a pleasing encounter but something feels missing, a spark to ignite the imagination. There is a Dire Straits lilt to the melodic design cast by the guitars whilst vocal harmonies embrace their lure with an appealing tempting of their own but there is a low key energy or maybe unoriginality to the track which prevents it taking as much attention as its design deserves.

    All the same the album makes a decent first touch which is immediately built upon by the provocative Atoms and the following Then They Came For Us. The first of the two from a smouldering start develops a swagger and energy to its stride which infects the imagination, guitars cradling the more urgent stance of the song in an engaging melodic web. Again the vocals work best when the trio of singers combine even with Loughran’s delivery a strong focal point; though as the album progresses you yearn for a snarl to his tone occasionally. With a great rhythmic dance in its latter surge, the track is a compelling suasion setting a high level for its successor to match. Evocative and melodically caressing the second of the pair is an absorbing ballad with potent sinews which grows and grows on the emotions over time to provide another sultry high point of the release.

    With a healthy resonance to the opening bassline, a rhythmic tantalising, and melodic enticement to its heart the title track makes a pleasant but slightly underwhelming offering before making way for a song which still offers doubts and irresistible bait. Myleene is a whimsical reflection of a maybe rocky relationship, a song with a creative tonic which simply infests the imagination but one with a poor lyrical presence which at times just niggles. Despite that the song never leaves thoughts and senses alone, the song an addictive sort it is impossible not to embrace and join in with.

     The highly emotive encounter, The Longest Day has thoughts working eagerly next whilst the heated breath and melodic radiance of Ghosts incites a warm appreciation, but it is the excellent revelry of The Third Party which has things blazing again mentally and emotionally. Another song to start with a slow and tender coaxing it soon washes the ears with a bluesy guitar enterprise alongside a stirring prompting from the drums and bass, both elements constantly impresses across the album. With a contagious charm and magnetism to its chorus and energetic heart, the song fights feistily for the best track award.

     Both Mary and Lucy make strong and captivating enticements, the first an especially bewitching treat with its punchy rhythms aligned to virulently addictive hooks and melodies giving the previous track a run for its money. Their lofty heights put next up Dynamite & Gunpowder a little in the shade but it is another to take its time in convincing before succeeding, even if the vocals flounder a few times along the way though redeemed by the backing harmonies and sixties folk pop air.

   Closing with No More Encores, the track completing a top and tail union with the opener on the album, Kind Words For Cruel Times gives a great deal to find strong satisfaction with. It is not without flaws but comes with a potent promise, its accomplished slice of indie folk/pop suggesting The Reverse is a proposition to watch out for.

www.thereverse.co.uk

7/10

RingMaster 28/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Strobegirl and D’Jaly – How Are You? EP

 

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    Having been seduced by The Strawberry Sessions EP a few years back, we have always had time and dreams over the melodic crafting and tones of its creator, UK singer/songwriter Strobegirl.  Weaving a mix of pop, indie, and folk spices in a host of sultry embraces, the Croydon girl is one of Britain’s musical secrets. With the release of new EP How Are You? may be that hiding place will be under threat through its magnetic temptation. The release sees Strobegirl, better known to her stalkers as Heather-Jane, team up with fellow Croydon based artist D’Jaly. It is a tantalising union as evidenced by the seven track release, a collaboration which sets the new EP alongside the acclaimed Strawberry Sessions in temptation and imagination.

     Strobegirl is no stranger to collaborations, having worked closely with producer Roger Fife (Cyndi Lauper, Anthony and The Johnsons, The Orphans) on her successful debut EP and subsequently the likes of UK Industrial band Illustrial as well as other artists on individual songs. Marked by dreamy shoegaze kissed textures to her music and vocals, Heather-Jane won indie artist of the year on Somojo radio in 2010 as well as being heavily played and promoted on various radio shows, especially the champions of independent music Audioburger. Her partner in invention upon the How Are You? EP and better known to his family as Jon Daly, has been emerging as an artist/producer through his infusions of electropop, house, and deep house. Originally called Unknown Tone with an electronic/dance flavouring to his creativity, Daly first released debut album the Fourth Dimension under his own name in 2008 before unleashing robotic dance machine 4000 in 2010 as Unknown Tone. Now the two artists have combined to craft a tantalising offering which joins both their styles in one electro pop persuasion, an encounter which leaves ears alive and passions feasted.

    You Can’t Stop Me Now starts things off and immediately cloaks the ear in a melodic coaxing aligned to sultry keys all aided by a brassy temptation. It is a smouldering mix of funk and jazz within an elegant pop embrace, piano and the appealing vocals of Strobegirl casting an emotive allure which only accentuates the beauty of the melodies which brew, merge, and erupt with evocative flames across the song. It is a magnetic persuasion which soon recruits thoughts and hunger towards its impressive invitation into the release.

     The following Nothing Else Counts Now unveils an electronic wash of grandeur and crystalline beckoning to make its entrance. Its initial coaxing is strong but arguably not as reassuring as to what will follow as the hinting found at the start of its predecessor. Those doubts are soon pushed aside though as the track twists its body to release a striking flame of Depeche Mode like melodic caressing littered with startling electro pulses and splurges of sound to shake up the song and expectations. Slight whispers of industrial and dubstep mischievously play their part in the bait of the song too and though the more general electronic course of the track is less inspiring than those elements, it is a refreshingly enterprising and imaginative eccentric dance within melodic witchery holding an almost spellbinding call.

    Next You and My Heart steps forward with its own distinctive fusion of electronic eccentricity and electro pop bewitchment, the song another which comes with a devilry to offset and taunt the raging melodies and ever appealing vocals. Production wise the track does want a little, the clashing electro scatterings and climatic orchestral bred melodies often suffocating and overpowering the vocals, though to be fair it does also help a haunting breath to wash the piece which does the song no harm. Overall though despite the smothering it is a lingering wash of melodic persuasion which adds extra to the release if less potently as elsewhere.

     The best two songs on the release come next, firstly Wake Up which admittedly we have a soft spot for having heard it in its early stages a while back. A summer wind of folk seeded pop placing the acoustic skills and vocal enchantment of Strobegirl in a rich electronic stimulus, the track is a warm stroll through evocative aural sorcery. Again the production is a touch claustrophobic but cannot derail a quite delicious croon of shoegaze revelry. With a chorus I dare you not to join in by its second tempting the song is one irresistible romance.

     The title track is equally infectious in its individual way and passion conjuring character. With almost sinister shadows flitting in and out of the song as the keys play with light and dark intermittently within a flame hued melodic narrative, vocals and lyrics adding another bloom of passionate colour and imagination to the picture. The best track on the release if not quite the favourite, it is a thoroughly captivating incantation of Siouxsie and the Banshees mystique filtered through a restrained Propaganda sculpted beauty.

   Completed by the Monster Electro Mix of You Can’t Stop Me Now and lastly the Deep House Mix of Nothing Else Counts, How Are You? is a delightful enveloping of the imagination and emotions, a release which might finally push Strobegirl and indeed D’Jaly in a new deserved spotlight.

The How Are You? EP is available as a buy now name your price download @ http://strobegirl-djaly.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/StrobegirlUK

https://www.facebook.com/djaly0

8/10

RingMaster 22/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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RUMOURS to release ‘Letter From The Memory’ 3rd Feburary‏

Rumours Online Promo Shot
EXCITING NEW ROCK POP CREW RUMOURS UNVEIL DEBUT EP!
 
Bristol tunesmiths Rumours take from the likes of Artist Vs Poet and Fall Out Boy and offer a fresh outlook on Rock/Pop crossover. The highly rated outfit set loose their breathtaking debut EP ‘Letters From The Memory Box’ on Monday 3rd February available through all digital outlets.
 
On first glance, Rumours may appear to be just another band full of fancy haircuts and clichés, but rest assured, their songs pack more firepower than your typical young rock band. Loaded with enticing hooks and earnest vocal lines that truly set this crew apart from the pack, Rumours are here for the long haul.
 
Although Rumours only officially formed and sharpened their sound early this year, the four piece have already amassed a dedicated fanbase through targeted gigging and strong support from Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker. Armed with a bonded tightly-knit foursome consisting of Alex Mcmain (Vocals / guitar), Dan Mur (Bass), Jamie Hadley (Drums) and Neil Oliver (Guitars), Rumours are set to stake a claim in the national arena with the release of their brand new EP, ‘Letters From The Memory Box’.
Set for national release this February, their new EP is an alluring hook heavy affair that brims with attractive harmonies and boasts a stunning collection of honest rock tracks. From the delectable catchy opening of ‘Forever Young,’ to the cutting dynamism of ‘Make Believe’, the record showcases the band’s true passion and talent. With a UK tour lined up for next year, the band are poised to make a name for themselves any day soon…..
-RUMOURS RELEASE ‘LETTERS FROM THE MEMORY BOX’ ON MONDAY 3rd FEBRUARY-
 
Rumours Cover Artwork

The Toniks – Rise And Shine

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Listening to Rise And Shine the debut album from UK popsters The Toniks you cannot help at times thinking this is a band which has the misfortune to have missed their time slot in music history. Certainly they have a potent place in the now as their album shows but with songs ripe with sixties melodic and pop sensibility which sits easily within the pop mischief of Herman’s Hermits and the Englishness of The Kinks, and a new wave soaked infectiousness which is a close cousin to bands such as The Farmers Boys and Jim Jiminee, you can only imagine the Guildford quintet would have found a potent place those eras. In a never ending torrent of new and existing bands all fighting for attention, real and online, any band is in for a greater struggle than ever to just cross the gaze of fans though with Rise And Shine, The Toniks have given themselves a definite fighting chance.

The brainchild of vocalist/bassist Mark Taylor and guitarist Jez Parish, The Toniks has been making a solid ascent for quite a while now; their infection loaded pop songs gripping ears and emotions. With the current line-up of guitarist Tom Yates, drummer Colin Marshall, and Jessica English on keys alongside Taylor and Parish in place since last year, the band has continued to draw acclaim for their strong live performances, which recently has seen the band playing across Europe and in Canada. Since forming they have also gained support from the likes of Graham Dominy (Eurythmics, Razorlight, Imelda May) who provided them with free studio time after hearing their music. It has all added to a slow but potent rise which the album can only increase as it sweeps across greater numbers.

The band is no stranger to this site, The Toniks a constant on the playlist of shows from our associates Audioburger.com for the 1235338_10151581120132610_2076276580_npast few years. This meant that the album faced expectations but it is fair to say it pushed them aside to emerge an even more vibrant and irrepressible encounter than imagined. Produced by Dominy alongside Taylor and Parish and released on Smile Records, Rise And Shine goes straight for the feet and passions with its title track. The song is total contagion, from the moment the opening soar of harmonies and keys behind the mellow tones of Taylor stroke the ear it teases with a seducing wantonness which explodes into one of the catchiest tunes heard this year. Bred from the seeds of sixties pop, the song romps and strolls with a massive smile in its melodies kissed by brass spawned sunspots. The eighties reference is most apt and virulent right away as the starter has voice in league with its stomp and like the best pop songs, becomes an old friend within moments.

The following Won’t Let You Down is much the same in its individual character, guitars and keys coaxing the imagination as they craft hooks and melodies which sparkle as they tempt. The backing vocals of English along with Parish make a great compliment to the delivery of Taylor, her voices especially soothing and one hopefully the band employ more ahead. More restrained than its predecessor but still a catchy saunter to capture the imagination it easily continues the pleasing start as does next up You and I and Simple Things. Like the first pair they are songs very familiar to us but each finding a new freshness and energy to their suasion and presence through the new recordings and re-workings brought by the band for the album. You and I is a bouncy incitement of respectfully jabbing beats and cheery guitar swipes tempered by darker bass tones. It has a harder rock core to its bewitchment but one which submits to the inventive and sultry flumes of brass as well as the continually persuasive melodic weaves which lie around the addiction causing hooks. Its successor comes with a slower croon to its presence as well as a gentle caress vocally and musically. The bass stands potently to the fore of the song, its steady heavy presence seemingly given preference upon the song and actually works well adding variety to the simple but wholly effective melodic colour which engages the imagination and lures another belt of hard to resist involvement from the body.

After passing the charms of Weather quickly the album settles into a steady enticing with Figure It Out and Never Real, both songs a spark to fill the appetite further though a shade below the standards set. Going back to the first of these three, Weather is another ridiculously ear catching invitation to participate with and enjoy slice of pop which most will drool over but it has never found a place here, it one of those irritants which niggles though it is simply down to personal taste alone. Of the other two, the first builds from emotive keys and expressive vocals into a more than decent ballad which grows and expands as it plays out its narrative and the second a satisfying rock pop breeze, both providing healthy appetising treats to mull over and return to before making way for another highlight.

Secret’s Safe also hits the rockier depths of the band, a blues whisper to the guitars equally egging on the thumping rhythms and hard hitting vocals, though Taylor has a voice where snarls never rear their head to be honest. There is an essence of The Jam and The Motors to the energetic and rampant charge of the song, a pop punk quality which sets it to the top of the release, well until, after the thoroughly enjoyable and infectious There You Go, the outstanding Scapegoat steps forward. The scuzziest track on the album with a punk breeding to its creativity, the track is a riveting blaze of rock ‘n’ roll with all the contagiousness the band can conjure reaping the heat of the blues kissed guitar flames on top of barbed melodic hooks.  It is a magnificent track, The Tonik’s finest moment yet.

The closing Wonderful Then concludes the album with a classic pop song graced by mesmeric strings, the cello caresses especially delicious, and resourceful evocative keys behind stirring harmonies. It is a final reminder of the depths of the songwriting of Taylor and Parish and though you cannot talk of them in the same breath yet as Difford and Tilbrook there are some familiarities at times to the construct and melodic structures of songs.

Rise And Shine exceeded expectations to stand as one of the better real pop albums out this year. If The Toniks have yet to touch your ears their debut album is the perfect way to put that right.

http://www.thetoniks.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 05/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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